A Job well done! 4 ways Steve Jobs changed the world

This post is dedicated to the life and memory of Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011). It recognises some of the life lessons we can learn from his contribution to Apple, to the entire tech industry, and by extension the world. 

The untimely passing of Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman and former CEO of Apple, has sent shock waves worldwide. Throughout his time at Apple, he was not only regarded as the driving force behind the company’s success, but also a visionary who transformed the computing industry. Since he stepped down as CEO towards the end of August, countless tributes have been deservedly paid to him, and even more so since his death. This post highlights four key lessons we believe are part of Jobs’ legacy, which can be applied across all aspects of our lives.

1. Looks do matter

There is not getting away from it: Apple’s products are sleek and sexy. Even the packaging underscores that message, which is why I have kept those for both my MacBook and iPad! Also, I am sure for many, who had no prior experience with Apple, the look of their products contributed to the initial attraction.

More importantly, in recent years with every major release, Apple has raised the bar. A device not only needs to function, it can also look good doing it! As a result, other manufacturers have been forced to raise their game and revisit the aesthetics of their own products.

Takeaway: Although content and performance are vital, do not underestimate the importance of packaging and appearance. We do judge a book by its cover. Pay attention to the details.

2. Make it work

As straightforward as this statement is, for those of us who regularly use less stable Operating Systems and computing devices, it is always in the back of your mind that at any given time, your equipment can crash, can hang up, or just not work in the way you expect. Hence most Apple customers appreciate the stability that is inherent in their products. To illustrate, allow me to share a recent experience:

Having used a MacBook almost exclusively for well over a year, I recently had an important appointment at which I was required to use a Windows notebook supplied by the client. Secure Wi-Fi was available, but the darn thing would not connect to the Internet. What was I to do? I did not have the foggiest idea…

How do I get it to recognise the network? Should I check the network settings? Was the Wi-Fi connector on? Would I need to reboot? … I was just so out of practice…

The Tech was eventually brought in, but even he was having difficulty figuring out the problem. Luckily, I had carried my Mac, which I offered to use instead, and in no time, I was surfing the Net!

That experience reinforced the fact that it is indeed possible to EXPECT your computer to work when you need it.

Takeaway: The average person is really not interested in the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ something works: it must just work. Consider the user experience, so spend the time to fine tune the usability and reliability of your product or service.  Ensure that your starting concepts are sound, but be prepared to overhaul them to improve the quality of the output.

3. Keep it simple, stupid

This theme appears to be at the core of Apple and ingrained into the company’s ethos. Although Apple might be teamed with highly brilliant and dedicated people, and their products are seen as cutting edge, the “keep it simple” message appears to be key: from what is communicated to the public, to how the products are designed and how they are expect to operate. As a result, many of their devices are designed to be intuitive. They are not designed to be complicated or intimidating; but are highly accessible, easy to use and provide unforgettable experiences.

Takeaway: We might have an idea or project that might be quite complex, but we must be able to communicate our ideas succinctly, and to package it in a way that avoids clutter.

4. Run your own race

Finally, it is important to be visionary. Although it is valuable to seek input and feedback, it is equally important to trust your own judgment and to have faith in your own capabilities.

Steve Jobs was the driving force behind Apple’s success and recognition. He took the company from being on the brink of bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, to being innovative, highly regarded, and a incredibly successful business. Features and capabilities we never thought we could ever want, or things we never thought we would ever want to do, we now take for granted. The tech industry is forever changed thanks to his vision and drive.

Takeaway:  Be passionate, focussed and fearless. Be original and believe in your own dream.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on Steve Jobs and his legacy. 

May he rest in peace.